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Board of Directors

Board of Directors

The Board has is responsible for Corporate Governance which reflects the manner in which we conduct our business.

The Corporation has a skills-based Board (including the Managing Director) appointed by the Minister for Water. The members bring to the Board, a strong mix of business, finance, environmental, agricultural, science, communications, engagement and management skills.

Cath Botta - Chair

Cath Botta was appointed a Director of North East Water in October 2012. She has served as Deputy Board Chair and was appointed as Board Chair in April 2019.

Ms Botta is a consultant in facilitation, soil health and community and stakeholder engagement. She also is an Independent Chair for a number of Advisory Panels, Community Consultation Groups, and Project Liaison groups for Horticulture Innovation Australia, EPA, AusNet, and ARTC.

Prior to this, Cath was a lecturer at Dookie College for the University of Melbourne, and a former Deputy Chair of the Benalla Health Board.

She holds a Bachelor and Masters of Science in Agriculture, Graduate Certificates in Soil Conservation and Mediation and Conflict Resolution, and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She is also certified as a professional Soil Scientist with the Australian Soil Science Society.

Cath is also Chair of the Board’s Performance Committee and a member of the Opportunity and Risk Committee.

Rosemary Bissett

Ms Rosemary Bissett is the Head of ESG Risk Management at National Australia Bank. She is a Director and Chair of the Risk Committee at Sustainable Business Australia. She is also a member of a number of Advisory boards and committees including: the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute Advisory Board, the National Environmental Science Program Threatened Species Research Hub Steering Committee, and the Natural Capital Protocol Biodiversity Guidance Steering Group.

Rosemary has a Master of Business Administration, Master of Applied Science (Analytical Chemistry), Graduate Diploma in Outdoor Education and Bachelor of Education, as well as being a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Rosemary is Chair of the Board’s Opportunity and Risk Committee and a member of the Performance Committee.

Stephen Brown - Deputy Chair

Mr Stephen Brown is the General Manager of Risk at Rural Bank and has held senior executive positions in the banking and finance industry with KPMG, ANZ, Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, RSD Chartered Accountants and Rural Finance Corporation.

Stephen is a Chartered Accountant having completed a Bachelor of Business (Accounting), is a registered Company Auditor, a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Australia and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Stephen is Deputy Chair, Chair of the Board’s Audit and Finance Committee and a member of the Opportunity and Risk Committee.

Jonathan Green

Jonathan Green is the current Board Chair of Northeast Health Wangaratta, having been appointed Chair in 2018, and is a current Board Director of Murrumbidgee Local Health District.

He is a commercial and property lawyer, having formerly been a partner in a large private practice in north east Victoria, with particular focus on property development, local government and governance matters. In recent years, he has part-owned and operated a real estate agency in Wangaratta. 

Jonathan holds a Bachelor of Laws, Bachelor of Arts, and a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. He is also a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Victoria, as well as a Victorian Licenced Estate Agent.

Christopher Mirams

Mr Chris Mirams is the Chair of Sheep Producers Australia and a Board member of the Red Meat Advisory Council, the Sheep Health & Welfare Trust, and the Sheep Industry Sustainability Framework.

He has 30 years’ experience in farm management, and has served in senior governance roles in a range of organisations including Meat and Livestock Australia, MLA Donor Company and Integrity Systems Company.

He is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and has skills in governance, leadership and organisational development. He holds a Diploma of Financial Markets and is a graduate of the Australian Rural Leadership Program.

Chris is a member of the Board’s Audit and Finance Committee and the Opportunity and Risk Committee.

Leanne Mulcahy

Leanne has served in senior leadership roles across local government, employment services and the dairy industry, and as a Non-Executive Director with more than 15 years’ experience in not-for-profit organisations.

She Chairs the Victorian Local Governance Association’s Governance & Risk Committee and is a member of the AICD’s local Advisory Committee and has recently completed a four year term as Chair of the North East Catchment Authority.

Leanne is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) and has completed an MBA through RMIT and is set to complete a Master of Laws, Enterprise Governance. Leanne was also awarded a Victorian Rural Women’s Network scholarship and is a graduate of the Goulburn Murray Fairley Leadership Program.

Victoria Schmidt

Ms Victoria Schmidt is a management consultant specialising in technology and transformation projects, ICT strategy, corporate services and customer engagement.

Victoria holds a current directorship in the banking sector and has held previous board positions in the public health and early childhood industries.

Victoria holds a Bachelor of Science in Engineering and a GAICD qualification from the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Victoria is a member of the Board’s Audit and Finance Committee and the Opportunity and Risk Committee.

Cris Topfner-Rigby

Cris is an Independent Board member of the Australian Red Cross, as well as a member of their Risk & Audit Committee member and Chair of their Technology and Cyber Subcommittee.

She is the Head of Retail IT at Origin Energy, and held senior executive roles at Coles, Coles Financial Services/Wesfarmers, as well as positions in military research and software agencies in Australia and overseas. Cris is also a former refugee and migrant who is passionate about making a positive and sustainable social impact.

Cris has a Bachelor of Computer Sciences and Mathematics, a Master in Computer Sciences, is a Graduate of Mt Eliza Business School and the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and is a certified Agile Professional.

Angela Verde

Angela has extensive executive level leadership experience across multiple Victorian state government departments and the not for profit sector and is a former Regional Director of Regional Development Victoria in the Hume region.

She has worked in clinical, research, management, policy and governance roles and is currently the Deputy Chair of the Goulburn Ovens Institute of TAFE Board and a Non-Executive Director on the Albury Wodonga Health Board. Angela also works as an independent consultant providing a range of evaluation and advisory services predominantly in the government and not for profit sectors.

Angela holds a Bachelor of Applied Science and a Diploma of Business Management and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD).

Angela is a member of the Board’s Performance Committee and the Opportunity and Risk Committee.

Jo Murdoch - Managing Director

With more than 20 years’ experience across the water, local government and media sectors, Jo Murdoch commenced with North East Water as Managing Director in January 2022.

Committed to providing exceptional customer service and value, Jo’s leadership helps organisations deliver real and tangible benefits for their communities, supporting the health and prosperity of the regions they serve.

Prior to joining North East Water, Jo was General Manager Customers and Community at Barwon Water, Victoria’s largest regional urban water corporation, where she was responsible for critical strategic and service functions. Prior to this, Jo had senior leader roles with Yarra City, Kingston, and Whitehorse councils.

Jo holds a Master of Business Administration, a Graduate Certificate in International and Community Development and is IAP2 certified.

Jo was named by the Institute of Public Administration Australia as one of Victoria’s Top 50 Public Sector Women in 2022.